Thursday, February 19, 2009
A woman alleged that she had suffered a permanent brain injury when struck by a golf ball while playing "glow golf" at a golf club's "Annual Nite Lite Outing." Glow golf "involves golfing at night while using glowing golf balls and other glowing devices, such as tiki torches and glow necklasses, to illuminate the golf course and the partcipants. The "event began once darkness fell." the ball that caused the injury was struck by another woman playing in the same foursome. The injured golfer sued the golf club and two women's golf associations as well as the person who had hit the ball. The trial court granted summary judgment to all defendants.
On appeal, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. The court found that the doctrine of assumption of risk was properly applied to the owners or occupiers of land and the inherent risks of sports participation. The court rejected the contention that the defendants had "unreasonably increased the inherent risks of the sport of glow golf as opposed to golf generally."
...[the]record testimony indicates that glow golf has its own equipment, distinct from that of golf, and that it is marketed at trade shows and in industry magazines...we find no error in the trial court's characterization of the sport at issue as glow golf as opposed to golf.
What about the fact that its played in the dark and claims of inadequate lighting?
The record shows that glow golf is played in the dark... [plaintiff's] claims of negligence related to darkness or the players' inability to see fail to establish that these conditions unreasonably increased the inherent risk that [she] would be struck by a shot while playing in the dark.
The court also affirmed findings that consumption of alcohol (part of the festivities) had not played a role. (Mike Frisch)